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Focus Verses: Focus Verses:Psalm 73:1-3; 16-17
1 Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. 3 For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. - - - 16 When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me 17 till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.
I truly appreciate how the songwriter, Asaph, was so honest about his feelings and doubts. He believed that God is good and does good for his people. He believed that those who are pure in heart can count on God's goodness. He admitted, however, that his faith was on slippery ground. His foothold was shaken when he saw the prosperity of the wicked. He found himself beginning to envy them. "What good does it do me to have faith in you God?" he asked. "I don't understand what's going on!"
It became oppressive to him as he tried to reason through the whole philosophical and theological problem of how God can be good while the world is so evil. It was only when Asaph began to worship God that he began to see and understand. Worshiping the eternal God gave him an eternal perspective. Temporal prosperity lost its shine and allure in the light of eternal destiny.
Response and Action:Like the Psalmist, I am tempted at times to feel like faith in God isn't getting me anywhere. I can envy the wicked. The sight of people prospering and succeeding with no regard for God can cause me to lose sight of God's faithfulness and eternal promises.
Worship is the way to hold on to perspective and faith. Worship gives me focus and reminds me of what is eternal and what is temporal. I will worship God, believing he is good and faithful to his people–to those who seek him with pure hearts.
O God, help me to turn away from what is wrong and to do what is right. In your faithfulness to me, do not let me be tempted beyond what I can bear. Lead me away from temptation and deliver me from evil. Thank you for your goodness to those who seek you. Give me humility and the wisdom to not envy the arrogant. Give me the perspective and discernment to know what is true and what is real. Deepen my understanding of life and meaning as I worship you and praise you. Amen.
Spiritual Formation Verses:
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Learning to Pray Through the Psalms
by James Sire